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Monday, December 15, 2014

Tri-Valley: A Charming Northern California Weekend Getaway

Livermore Valley Vineyards Northern California Weekend Getaway

So right about now you’re probably wondering where in the world is Tri-Valley?  Almost every time we mentioned to friends that we were traveling to Tri-Valley for a Northern California weekend getaway, we received blank stares and the questions of where is Tri-Valley, and what is there to do there.  To be honest, other than knowing of the city of Livermore because my stepdad lived there for years, when I visited the Tri-Valley booth at the San Diego Travel & Adventure Show, I really knew very little about the region, but I was intrigued, especially when I learned it has one of California’s oldest wine regions.  
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Monday, December 8, 2014

The Scenic 17-Mile Drive of the Monterey Peninsula

China Rock 17-Mile Drive Monterey Peninsula California
China Rock
One of America’s great scenic drives is 17-Mile Drive on California’s Monterey Peninsula.  As is the case with many of America’s scenic drives (some of our other favorites include the scenic Apache Trail and the historic Columbia River Highway), 17-Mile Drive has been a tourist attraction for a very long time.  The first travelers along 17-Mile Drive explored the Del Monte Forest by horse-drawn carriage as early as 1881.  Now visitors pay an entrance fee at one of five gates to view the Monterey Peninsula’s dramatic coastline, visit 17-Mile Drive’s 21 marked points of interest, and get a glimpse of what is probably the Monterey Peninsula’s most famous attraction, Pebble Beach Golf Links. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Travel the World's Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers

Travel the World's 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

It's that time of year again.  Thanksgiving has passed and the holiday gift giving season is just around the corner.  Are you looking for travel gift ideas?  Travelers can be hard to purchase for because they're always on the go and prefer experiences over worldly goods.  However, there are a number of items out there in various price ranges that make perfect holiday presents for the world traveler.  I've put together a holiday gift guide for the 2014 season so you can find the perfect traveler present for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever winter gift-giving holiday you or your traveling loved ones celebrate.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monument Valley: Movie Set and Natural Phenomenon

Monument Valley Utah

What do the movies Stagecoach, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Back to the Future III, and Forrest Gump have in common?  They all have scenes filmed in Utah’s Monument Valley.  If you haven’t been to Monument Valley, it’s possible you haven’t even noticed how often this famous Utah landscape is featured in movies and commercials.  But once you’ve seen these red buttes and spires jutting up from an otherwise flat landscape in person, you’ll understand why Monument Valley became a favorite of John Ford for shooting westerns, catapulting it into the famous landmark it is today. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Driving the Scenic Apache Trail

Apache Trail along the Salt River Arizona
Part of the Apache Trail dirt road follows along the edge of the Salt River.
There are many scenic drives in the USA and one of the great American scenic drives is Arizona’s Apache Trail.  In addition to the natural beauty of this desert trail, travelers will be able to visit some great sites including Goldfield Ghost Town, Tortilla Flat, Roosevelt Dam, and Tonto National Monument.

The Apache Trail is easily reached from Phoenix, Arizona and runs as Highway 88 for approximately 80 miles from Apache Junction, past Apache Lake and Theodore Roosevelt Lake, to the Highway 60-70 junction.  Most travelers turn the drive into a loop, returning to Phoenix via Highway 60.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tikal Guatemala: A Long Time Ago, in a Mayan Civilization Far, Far Away

Tikal Temple I Guatemala
Tikal Temple I, the Temple of the Great Jaguar.
One of the most memorable travel experiences we’ve had while traveling was visiting the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala.  We traveled to Tikal on a day tour from Belize and had already visited some of Belize’s Mayan ruins.  But even with a preview of the Mayan ruins of Belize, nothing prepared us for the magnificent grandeur of Guatemala’s Tikal.  Not even the fact that we’d seen the view of Tikal pyramids towering over jungle trees a million times before in Star Wars.  (Tikal is featured in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.) 

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Coastal Vacation: Things to do on the Oregon Coast

Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint Oregon Coast
Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint.
The Oregon coast is over 300 miles of sandy beaches and is dotted with coastal towns.  Visitors to the Oregon coast aren’t there to get a tan and swim in the ocean, as it is often rainy and foggy and the ocean water is frigid.  Rather, Oregon coast vacationers are there to see rugged coastline, historic lighthouses, and quaint seaside towns.  We spent three days slowly making our way down Oregon’s coast after leaving Astoria, spending the night at towns along the way, so we could experience the Oregon coasts attractions.